On the Road

Only weeks after buying my car,  I am beginning to understand the rules of the road here in Namhae.

  1. Junctions: Cars bigger and better than yours have right of way.  You can try, but they will cause more damage.
  2. Stop lights: for advice only; in the absence of cameras/ pedestrians/ other traffic you may ignore them.
  3. Speed limits: a guideline for passing safely under speed cameras; all other stretches of road should be covered at the preferred speed of the impatient driver behind you.
  4. Overtaking: If you insist on driving within legal speed limits, stick to the centre line, so allowing faster moving cars to pass you in lay-bys, petrol stations, road junctions and any other suitable space to your right.
  5. Other road users: Again, stick to the centre  to avoid hitting scooters, mini-tractors, old people dragging wheeled baskets, people with cows and hikers walking four abreast.
  6. Use of the horn: replaces the need for other inconveniences such as indicating, slowing at junctions and patience. Particular useful for reminding oncoming traffic that they are speeding towards you in the centre of the road.
  7. Parking: Triple parking in narrow streets is acceptable only if you pick up your take-away dinner as quickly as possible and/or respond promptly to horns.
  8. Drainage ditches – the 3′ deep, 2′ wide concrete channels that abut the road edge.  Don’t drive into them.

While I acknowledge these local rules I do tend to stick to the more conventional ones, much to the annoyance of the locals.  I have been practicing my ‘resolute and unperturbed’ look as I tootle around the narrow roads like a mother duck on a trip to the lake.  Partly it is my car’s fault – a ten-year old Daewoo Matiz with an 860cc engine is hardly a Jeremy Clarkson experience.  For the rest I take full responsibility.  Better annoying than dead, I say.  Though some drivers around here may disagree.

3 responses to “On the Road

  1. Hi Daryl,
    Found you on Matador! I can relate well to the driving situation. I’m in Okinawa myself and had a heck of a time getting used to tiny roads that look like alleys, but are actually two lane busy streets!

    I’ve got so many bumps and dents on my little tin can of a car!

    Looking forward to reading more!

  2. Hey Daryl,

    LOVE the Top Gear reference. : ) I think if we looked at how people drive and then divided it up population wise, this type of “non” conventional driving would win out. I once got in spat in the middle of the road with a Punjabi driver who cut me off by zooming up the lane where the ongoing traffic should be. He tried to blame on it me, saying, “well you should have seen me in your mirror.” To be honest. I should have. I should not expect people to drive in the lanes! Learned the hard way.

  3. Nice piece, Daryl. Easy to read layout & great little insights! i think number 3 might be universal though!

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